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#1 anasuya

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 12:29 PM

Ectoplazzum's response in the Wiccan/Christain thread made me ponder starting a topic solely about this discussion instead of carrying it on in a thread focusing on something slightly different.

You make some extremely good points, by the way. When you said that most Wiccans (unless initiated) are neo-Wiccans and not Wiccan, I DID actually find myself becoming slightly offended until I realized to some degree you are right. I, personally, have been initiated into a coven, more than one throughout my life actually, but honestly, I've met solitary practitioners who are more true to the path than many in a coven.

And you denounce Fairy Wicca and Celtic Wicca as neo-Wiccan. What about the covens that focus on incorporating all of these faiths into one group? My personal opinion of that, seeing as how that explains the workings of one of the groups I'm currently a member of, is that it IS just a group. Not a coven. The term "coven" suggests a group of people who gather together to worship in a particular given path.

However, since not a single one of us was around 500-1000 years ago to witness exactly how "true" Wicca was performed, it's hard to determine which sect of Witchcraft actually is closest to "true" Wicca. Every group, including that of Gardner, could just be some creative re-invention.

So, throwing this out to everyone... what is your definition of initiation? Is it necessary to consider oneself a witch or Wiccan? And in all honesty, is there such a thing as "true" wicca?

And as a side note... what do you think of herediatry witches? I've heard some Wiccans say that you aren't a "true" witch unless it's generational.

BB, Ana
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#2 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 05:37 PM

Ectoplazzum's response in the Wiccan/Christain thread made me ponder starting a topic solely about this discussion instead of carrying it on in a thread focusing on something slightly different.

You make some extremely good points, by the way. When you said that most Wiccans (unless initiated) are neo-Wiccans and not Wiccan, I DID actually find myself becoming slightly offended until I realized to some degree you are right. I, personally, have been initiated into a coven, more than one throughout my life actually, but honestly, I've met solitary practitioners who are more true to the path than many in a coven.

And you denounce Fairy Wicca and Celtic Wicca as neo-Wiccan. What about the covens that focus on incorporating all of these faiths into one group? My personal opinion of that, seeing as how that explains the workings of one of the groups I'm currently a member of, is that it IS just a group. Not a coven. The term "coven" suggests a group of people who gather together to worship in a particular given path.

However, since not a single one of us was around 500-1000 years ago to witness exactly how "true" Wicca was performed, it's hard to determine which sect of Witchcraft actually is closest to "true" Wicca. Every group, including that of Gardner, could just be some creative re-invention.

So, throwing this out to everyone... what is your definition of initiation? Is it necessary to consider oneself a witch or Wiccan? And in all honesty, is there such a thing as "true" wicca?

And as a side note... what do you think of herediatry witches? I've heard some Wiccans say that you aren't a "true" witch unless it's generational.

BB, Ana



Wicca as a religion was not around all those hundreds of years ago.  The word "Wicca" was arrived at by Gardner as a name for the religion because "wicce" is the original root of the word "witch."  The actual word "Wicca" did not exist as such until Gardner coined it in the early 20th century.

With regard to initiation, there ARE neo-Wiccan covens, however they still do not practice the same religion as covens that trace back to Gardner.  That is not to say that their path isn't completely legitimate, it only says that if they are not practicing Wicca as Gerald Gardner developed it, they cannot honestly call themselves Wiccans.  They can add an adjective TO that and call themselves whatever they would like to, there is no "copyright" or anything on the word "Wiccan" that makes it illegal for someone to use it, but like I said on the other thread, it would be pretty embarassing for someone to get into a discussion with an initiate of Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wicca, claiming they are a Wiccan, and then not having the first clue as to what was going on when the conversation turned to oathbound material.

You mention that I "denounce" Fairy Wicca and Celtic Wicca as neo-Wiccan.  That's also what I was saying in the other post.  It's not a denunciation.  It's simply a categorization.  It would be like someone who was Catholic claiming to be a Baptist, and then getting offended because someone told them that they really weren't a Baptist.  As far as the groups who incorporate everything into one, they are also considered neo-Wiccan.  There is not a dang thing wrong with it, or offensive about it, it just is not Wicca as Gerald Gardner developed Wicca.
As far as what to call the group, they're usually referred to as circles.  They're not covens because there are representatives of more than one path that belong, however they all share the common thread of being witches.  The Christian equivalent would be a non-denominational church.

With regard to "true" Wicca, only Gardnerian/Alexandrian/Dianic initiates know how it works.  It has nothing to do with anyone being around 500 years ago, because what was practiced back then was not Wicca, it was simply witchcraft.  Wicca under the name of Wicca did not exist at all until the early 20th century.  The whole of Wicca is the brainchild of Gerald Gardner and those who started his offshoot covens.  Whatever was practiced before that was simply witchcraft, the "Craft of the Wise", whatever other kitschy little name people have for it, but it could not in any way or form be called Wicca.  It formed the basis, but that's about it.  The rest came from Gardner.

I guess my definition of "initiation" would be a group of people, ANY group of people, taking another into their group via a ceremony.  As far as someone deciding to be a solitary practitioner, that I would consider to be self-dedication.  

With regard to hereditary witches, there are many family tradition (fam-trad) groups around today.  It's entirely possible for someone to be "born into" witchcraft.  What I do not believe, however, is that someone can say that they are a "natural witch", that they were "born a witch."  I get emails every month from kids in their teens who tell me that they were "born a witch" and want to know how they tell if they're one.  Everyone has the ability to become a witch and/or practice magick.  It's not genetic.  A popular topic on message boards is from teenage girls who say that they come from a "long line of witches, their entire family are witches" and then they ask if anyone on the board can teach them how to be a witch too.  I guess they don't stop to think that everyone's first thought would be that if they come from a family of witches, why can't someone in the family teach them?  We also get the ones who say that they are a Wiccan from "generations of Wiccans".  I guess they don't realize that someone under 18 cannot be a Wiccan or that two Gardnerian Wiccans can have a child, and that child is not considered Wiccan until he/she reaches his/her 18th birthday and goes through training and initiation.  

A "true" witch is one that hones his/her craft and is successful at what he/she does.  A true witch is one that walks the walk as well as talking the talk.   :)

Elle

#3 Vampchick21

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 05:46 PM

Ah, Initiation.  I never did that, although I did study Gardnerian Wicca among other paths.  But I never joined a coven, never did a year and a day.  

I think I understand what's being said.  There is Core Wicca (Gardnerian) and then there is Neo-Wicca (most others).  That's how I understood it to be, although the term Neo-Wicca is new to me.  

Me myself, I eventually did a Self Dedication in Celtic Paganism, and I practice witchcraft.  

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#4 Alsie R.

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 06:44 PM

i've just started reading up on wicca and i'm curious about the different divisions (for lack of a better word) of wicca. can someone fill me in on them?
         
-alsie r.
A long, long time agoI can still rememberHow that music used to make me smileAnd I knew if I had my chanceThat I could make those people danceAnd maybe they'd be happy for a whileAmerican Pie, Don McLean~ carpe diem, seize the day, make your lives extraordinary.-dead poet's society i eat emo kids for breakfast. with french fried hash browns.

#5 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 07:42 PM

i've just started reading up on wicca and i'm curious about the different divisions (for lack of a better word) of wicca. can someone fill me in on them?
         
-alsie r.



Here are some links that should be helpful in getting you started.  If you've got any questions, I will do my best to answer them.    :)

http://wicca.timerif.../ravenwolf.html

http://www.fortuneci...al/608/id57.htm

http://www.sacred-te.../gbos/index.htm

http://users.cwnet.c...ner/ggerald.htm

I'll look through my files and see what else I have that is good for starting off.   :)

Elle

#6 anasuya

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 08:20 PM

Perhaps I just shudder at the word Neo-Wiccan because it conjures up imagery of "New Agers", which I am not, by any means. But I understand where you are coming from in every regard actually, and you make several good points which I might just have to plagerize in future debates! lol. With your permission of course.

You know, one of the supposed leaders of this coven I've been a member of (lately out of pure boredom) said about his Imbolc ritual that everyone would be "wow-ed" by it because it is written as a "true" Wiccan ritual. I think they only thing he did differently from how I've always ever seen it done was that he cast the circle before calling the quarters. It was laughable really.

Anyway, I've appreciated your posts on this matter Ectoplazzum. Thanks!

Ana
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#7 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 09:48 PM

Perhaps I just shudder at the word Neo-Wiccan because it conjures up imagery of "New Agers", which I am not, by any means. But I understand where you are coming from in every regard actually, and you make several good points which I might just have to plagerize in future debates! lol. With your permission of course.

You know, one of the supposed leaders of this coven I've been a member of (lately out of pure boredom) said about his Imbolc ritual that everyone would be "wow-ed" by it because it is written as a "true" Wiccan ritual. I think they only thing he did differently from how I've always ever seen it done was that he cast the circle before calling the quarters. It was laughable really.

Anyway, I've appreciated your posts on this matter Ectoplazzum. Thanks!

Ana



I understand what you mean about the New-Agers.  Trust me, they have "borrowed" something from just about every path of Paganism and somehow transformed it to fit their own meaning.  Wicca is not alone in this.

As far as any info I have posted, feel free to use it.  I'm glad you found it helpful!   :)

Elle

#8 Alsie R.

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 05:08 PM

hey elle,
         thanks for the links. i've just started learning about this with a few of my best friends and i'm gathering information.
question: is it necessary to join a coven? we've all been wondering since its just us four who do it. do we need to find someone who's uh, qualified to lead our circles?

thanks!
  alsie r.

p.s. anyone who knows their stuff can answer these!
A long, long time agoI can still rememberHow that music used to make me smileAnd I knew if I had my chanceThat I could make those people danceAnd maybe they'd be happy for a whileAmerican Pie, Don McLean~ carpe diem, seize the day, make your lives extraordinary.-dead poet's society i eat emo kids for breakfast. with french fried hash browns.

#9 anasuya

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 07:11 PM

Hi Alsie. In high school, it was me and a few of my friends as well (Shellas being one of them), who would get together regularly to practice and learn. I personally found it was refreshing to learn with my peers, without the pressure of impressing a "teacher". We made our mistakes, and learned from them. The road was probably longer than it would have been had there been someone more qualified/experienced to help pave the way for us, but it was much more satisfying, I feel, doing it the way it was done. So, basically, it could go either way. It's all about personal preference and what you feel you need.

BB, Ana
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#10 Lamuris

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 07:17 PM

It is laughable when certain groups think that they are the "real thing" and everyone else just copies. I personally don't care if one line takes the name Wicca. It doesn't mean anyone else is not a witch, or can't belong to a coven. There are many paths to follow, and if you are true to your beliefs, spiritual and or Magickal, only pretenders who want to belong to something "special" would cry. That is my subjective opinion.  

#11 anasuya

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 07:33 PM

Lamuris, that makes an excellent point, and it's ironic that you bring it up, and word it the way you did. The circle I'm a member of is currently undergoing some major changes. It began as a very family-oriented circle, with children often participating in ritual, which left us all feeling a bit hectic and unable to concentrate during rites. When a guest visited one of our circle gatherings, he later confided that it wasn't for him because he didn't feel we took our path seriously by inviting such young and unruly children into circle (and in all honesty I personally agree). But, it began that way... we all knew what this group was about when we joined, but when the Keeper (the politically correct term for High Priestess apparently) learned of this guests opinion, she became obsessed with changing the group to be seen more seriously in the eyes of the pagan community. However, they are no longer being true to themselves because of it. Because of this, the group will likely fall before the year is out. Word of warning.... stay TRUE and don't give a rats a$$ about anything other than being who you are and believing what you want.

Ana
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#12 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 10:41 PM

Ah, Initiation.  I never did that, although I did study Gardnerian Wicca among other paths.  But I never joined a coven, never did a year and a day.  

I think I understand what's being said.  There is Core Wicca (Gardnerian) and then there is Neo-Wicca (most others).  That's how I understood it to be, although the term Neo-Wicca is new to me.  

Me myself, I eventually did a Self Dedication in Celtic Paganism, and I practice witchcraft.  



That's pretty much the gist of it.  Gardnerian (Gerald Gardner), Alexandrian (Alex Sanders), Dianic (can't remember right off hand who started this), and Seax Wicca (Raymond Buckland) are about the only sects that arose from the Wicca that Gardner started.  There are possibly one or two others, but the others are considered to be neo-Wicca.

For some reason, people get all bent out of shape over the neo-Wiccan thing, but it's not a slur or a slap, it's just a term that separates it from the oathbound sects of Wicca.  

Elle

#13 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 10:49 PM

hey elle,
         thanks for the links. i've just started learning about this with a few of my best friends and i'm gathering information.
question: is it necessary to join a coven? we've all been wondering since its just us four who do it. do we need to find someone who's uh, qualified to lead our circles?

thanks!
  alsie r.

p.s. anyone who knows their stuff can answer these!



It's not necessary at all to join a coven to be a witch.  The only time joining a coven is an absolute necessity is if you want to be initiated into an oathbound Wiccan sect.  Otherwise, you don't have to.  There are also covens that are not oathbound for those who want to be part of a coven but who don't care whether or not they are oathbound.  You can start a coven with as few as three people or you can have as may as 15 or 20 in one.  Usually they try to keep it under 13 people just because it's a lot easier to manage a small group than a large one when it comes to witchcraft and rituals.

As long as you're starting your own coven and are not oathbound, it probably doesn't matter if anyone is initiated as a priestess or priest or not, as long as everyone gets along and can work together.  The function of the high priest or high priestess is to lead the coven, but as long as everyone is in agreement as to who does what in a small, non-oathbound coven, it's not important to have one.  It's also possible to develop your own system of worship, again, as long as everyone is in agreement as to how things are done.  The only limitation would be that it would not be considered Wicca, it would be considered neo-Wicca.  Again, not a slur, just a separation of oathbound from non-oathbound.  

Witchvox.com has a lot of good information on this kind of thing, and may even list some covens that would be near you that you could all join.  

Elle

#14 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 11:11 PM

It is laughable when certain groups think that they are the "real thing" and everyone else just copies. I personally don't care if one line takes the name Wicca. It doesn't mean anyone else is not a witch, or can't belong to a coven. There are many paths to follow, and if you are true to your beliefs, spiritual and or Magickal, only pretenders who want to belong to something "special" would cry. That is my subjective opinion.  



Not sure what you mean by certain groups thinking they're the "real thing" and everyone else copying.  If you're referring to the Wicca vs neo-Wicca thing, it's not a matter of anyone copying anyone, it's a matter of those who are neo-Wiccan not being privy to the oaths that are taken by those who join lineaged covens.  

As far as neo-Wiccans go, not being oathbound doesn't make them any less of a witch, it doesn't make them any less "special", for lack of a better word, it doesn't make their path inferior.  It just makes their path not Wiccan in the way that Wicca was developed.

People who call themselves Wiccan, but have no idea who lineaged Wiccans worship, or what their oathbound rites consist of, are only fooling themselves.  Not knowing the names of the deities or what the oathbound rites consist of doesn't make them any less of a witch, it just makes them not Wiccan.  If someone claims to be Wiccan, and a lineaged Wiccan starts talking to them about, say, the Dryghten, it's going to become obvious early on that they're not Wiccan even though they claim to be.  

Oathbound Wicca is a recognized religion in most of the states of this country.  There is a section on Wicca in the Army Chaplain's manual.  It refers to oathbound (Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Dianic, Seax) Wicca however, not Fairy Wicca or any other offshoot that people have come up with who are not in a lineaged coven.  Truth to tell, I'm not even sure that Seax Wicca is oathbound, however Raymond Buckland is lineaged to Gerald Gardner, therefore Seax Wicca is still considered Wicca because of Buckland's lineage where, say, Fairy Wicca isn't.

Being in a coven has nothing to do with it.  One doesn't have to be a Wiccan to be in a coven.  There are plenty of non-Wiccan covens around.  If someone wants to start a coven of witches who worship coconuts and do rituals under palm trees they're absolutely free to do it, they just can't call themselves Wiccans and be accurate.  I've been a witch for 31 years, am not a Wiccan, nor have I ever been in a coven.  Nor do I want to be.  I prefer to be a solitary.  It doesn't make me less of a witch, it just makes me not a Wiccan.

So it's not a matter of those who want to belong to "something special" crying.  Wicca is Wicca.  It was developed to be a certain way, and it is oathbound.  The ones who belong to the oathbound sects are not the "pretenders."  In my experience, it's mainly the ones who aren't in the oathbound sects who do the crying about being just as legitimate a path, and the sad part is that nobody has ever said that they are not just as legitimate a path, nor does it make them lesser witches.  All anyone has said is that they are neo-Wiccan and not Wiccan.

Elle

#15 shellas13

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 04:14 AM

As part of the group/coven/circle with Ana, I tend to agree with her on this. Again, our youth made us make a lot mistakes, but in the end, it's been one of the best experiences in my life and I'm SO glad that I participated, lol. Regardless if it's in earnest or just 'for fun', I'd say give it a whirl...you might not get everything right the first try, but I've always believed that 'practice makes perfect' ;D And altho, I'd be hard pressed to try to encourage you to follow in any of our past follies or even the established laws of other covens or beliefs, I say just try it, and see what YOU get out of it.

I, myself, am a solitary practitioner and most likely won't join a coven (unless it's Ana's, :)), but like ecto said, it doesn't make me less of a witch...just someone that finds herself doin' her thang as she sees fit! ;D But yeah, gurl, have fun and keep us posted! lol




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